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What It’s Like to Stay at the Cheval Blanc, LVMH’s Jewel-Box Hotel in the Heart of Paris
By Tori Latham,
Welcome to Checking In , a new review series in which our editors and contributors rate the best new (and revamped) luxury hotels based on a rigorous—and occasionally tongue in cheek—10-point system: Each question answered “yes” gets one point. Will room service bring you caviar? Does your suite have its own butler? Does the bathroom have a bidet? Find out below.
What’s the deal? The Cheval Blanc Paris is LVMH’s first hotel in the French capital, and that tells you most of what you need to know about the property. The luxury giant’s predilection for perfection is apparent everywhere, from the moment you step into the hotel’s immaculate and expansive lobby. The esteemed architect Peter Marino was commissioned to transform the original Art Deco building into a modern jewel box. It was actually Marino’s first hotel project, but you wouldn’t know it. The Cheval Blanc oozes sophistication from a magnificent perch right above the banks of the Seine.
The best room: The hotel comprises just 72 rooms and suites—split evenly between the two—and you can’t go wrong with a single one of them. Starting at just under 500 square feet, the rooms have a large bay window, a separate dressing room, a bathroom with a soaking tub and separate hammam-shower, and a host of other swanky amenities.
The creme de la creme, though, is the Cheval Blanc’s “l’Appartement,” a massive apartment spread across the eighth and ninth floors of the building. Here, you’ll find seven bedrooms, several lounges and dining rooms, a projection room, a wellness room, and a private 41-foot swimming pool. Of course, such a lavish setting comes with its own entrance for discreet comings and goings.
Greeted by name at check-in? No. In fact, the valets at the entrance seemed to be confused by the fact that we were guests at the hotel. Once inside, the check-in process was relatively standard, except we got to sit down on a lounge rather than stand in front of the desk. That was welcome after a long day of travel, but I wouldn’t call it anything out of the ordinary.
Welcome drink ready and waiting? (Bonus point if it wasn’t just fruit juice.) Indeed. The hotel had left us a bottle of the LVMH-owned Ruinart Champagne on the small table on our winter balcony overlooking the Seine. (Unfortunately, it was an extremely sunny day and the ice had melted by the time we arrived. Fret not, though: A quick call to the concierge and we were delivered a fresh bucket of ice). That was accompanied by a mini-fridge full of libations, both alcoholic and not, as well as a plate of cookies, a small bundt cake, and a bowl of apples.
Private butler in the room? Not in the room, no. But the Cheval Blanc has a suite of dedicated butlers (or majordomes , as it calls them) ready to assist you with anything you might need. The housekeepers also take care of you—leaving a fresh carafe of tea after the evening turndown service, for example—and the hotel provides three private cars that will shuttle you wherever you need to go in Paris.
Sheet thread count 300 or higher? Double that, in fact. The long-fiber cotton bed linens have a thread count of 600. And the plush duvet will make it feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud.
Heated floor in the bathroom or a bidet? Or both? The marble floors aren’t heated, but I never had a problem walking out of a warm shower onto a cold floor. That’s thanks in part to the massive floor towels, which cover most of the area and help you avoid any slips. The toilet, which is separated from the rest of the bathroom, does have a bidet function, though. Even better, it has a heated seat.
Are the toiletries full-sized? Oh, yes. Don’t even get me started on the toiletries. They might be one of the very best parts of a hotel full of best parts. The numerous products—creams, balms, bath salts, shampoos, and more—come in bottles inspired by the Art Deco building, and some are offered in the hotel’s signature scent that was developed by master perfumer Francois Demachy. I couldn’t even get through every product offered during my stay, and unfortunately, I wasn’t checking any bags, so I couldn’t bring them home with me either. Luckily, there were a few carry-on-friendly toiletries—such as a small hand cream and a sample-size Dior face cream—that I’m still able to enjoy back in the States.
Private pool for the room’s exclusive use? Nope, unless you’re staying in the aforementioned l’Appartement. All guests have access to the lower-level pool, though. Measuring almost 100 feet, it’s the longest indoor hotel pool in Europe. It also sits at the same height as the Seine, giving you a sense of swimming in the iconic body of water without having to think about what else may be swimming alongside you. To top it off, the pool is covered in custom mosaic tiles by Franz Mayer of Munich.
Worth spending Friday night in the lobby bar? Perhaps. On the ground floor, Limbar serves as an all-day café with cocktails in the evening. Those looking for a slightly more casual setting will find it here. If you want all the glitz and glamour of Paris, however, travel up to Le Tout-Paris on the seventh floor. The bustling brasserie, decked out in bright primary colors, features an elegant bar where you can sip Champagne while doing some outstanding people-watching. Grab your glass and step outside for incredible views of the city skyline, including, of course, the Eiffel Tower. A meal here is wonderful, too. For breakfast, you can devour one of the most beautifully laminated croissants I’ve found in the city so far.
Caviar on the room-service menu? Bien sûr. In fact, the hotel considers caviar an “essential” on its room-service menu. You have three options to choose from: Baeri, Oscietre and Beluga, all served with blinis and condiments. Prices range from about $137 (€128) for 30 grams of the Oscietre to roughly $881 (€822) for 50 grams of the Beluga. And if you’d rather have your caviar as part of a larger dish, you can order crispy sea bream and caviar.
Would you buy the hotel if you could? Who wouldn’t? The Cheval Blanc is the pinnacle of luxury—you barely have to lift a finger throughout the duration of your stay. (I mean that quite literally; everything is handled via conveniently placed buttons or the TV’s control panel.) Being able to wake up and look out over the Seine every morning would be a complete dream, and getting around Paris from the centrally located property is a breeze. If there’s even a downside, it’s that you’d find it hard to leave the hotel to take in one of the best cities in the world. That’s not a bad problem to have, though.
Rates start at 2,250 euros ($2,414) for a Deluxe Room.
What Our Score Means:
1-3: Fire your travel agent if they suggest you stay here. 4-6: Solid if you’re in a pinch—but only if you’re in a pinch. 7-8: Very good. We’d stay here again and recommend it without qualms. 9-10: Forget booking a week. When can we move in permanently?